Access control systems are most often associated with financial or government facilities, but these security solutions can be important for other industries and businesses as well, regardless of size. Different types of companies all have different types of security needs. Thus, when choosing an access control system for your facility, it’s important to consider what your business requires, the different types of access control systems available, and what will be the best fit for your business.
Types of Access Control Systems
When contemplating security solutions for your business, there are a variety of options to keep in mind, such as what type of system you need and what access method you want to allow entrance into different areas of the facility.
Standalone Access Control vs. Computer-Based Access Control
Standalone access control systems utilize secure locks on each individual door. The systems are isolated to the specific door that they control. Standalone access control is often useful for smaller facilities that have fewer people who need access to the building or fewer access-restricted doors. Overall, it is simpler to set up a standalone access control system than a networked system, but, if you want to alter the system (i.e. barring a key or card from access), you have to do so at each individual door.
Meanwhile, networked access control systems offer centralized control of multiple doors through wireless networks rather than each door having its own isolated system. These access control systems are more difficult to install, but, with these systems, you can control all doors from a central location. In addition, you can use system records to determine who accessed which areas at what times. Therefore, these systems are well-suited to medium/larger-sized buildings with many doors and/or many users, though they may also be used for smaller facilities as well.
Hard-Wired Access Control Systems vs. Wireless Access Control Systems
Hard-wiring your building for an access control system is a secure business security solution. The wires connect all components of the system, which offers a stronger system infrastructure. However, these access control systems can be difficult to retrofit into an existing building, so they are more often installed when building a new facility.
Wireless access control systems, on the other hand, are battery-operated and, if part of a networked system, communicate with the overall system through wireless internet. These systems require gateways or access points to transfer communications between the individual door mechanisms and the central system, but these access points or gateways have a limited range. If you are considering a wireless business security solution, keep in mind that these can require more complicated networks. Alternatively, they are easier to retrofit into an existing building than a wired system.
Key Cards vs. Key Codes vs. Biometrics for Access Control Systems
Depending on the security needs of your business, you should consider the different access methods available. Key cards or tokens can be either inserted into a reader or read by proximity and are useful for quick, secure access through doors. These tend to be the simplest methods to use. However, if a card is lost or stolen, there can be an associated security risk, and the card’s access must be retracted to maintain the integrity of the access control system.
Key codes or PINs are also an option. The access control system can be operated on a specific code that must be entered to access an area of the building. There is, unfortunately, the potential hazard that someone may forget the code, or worse, someone may write it down and lose it or even tell it to someone else. However, provided that none of your employees do this, key codes can be an effective method of maintaining secure access.
For advanced security, biometrics is an excellent choice for access control systems. Biometric security uses the unique identifiers inherently available on the human body, such as fingerprints, handprints, retinas, and even faces. These are the most secure methods of controlling access to certain areas of your facility, but these are also the most expensive and difficult systems to install.
For further enhanced security, you may want to consider a two-factor (or multi-factor) authorization method for your building’s access control system. These methods incorporate two or more identification/authorization methods, such as inserting a key card and inputting a code simultaneously or scanning an ID card and a handprint. These are more complicated, but also more secure, methods of securing certain areas of your business.
What is the Best Building Access Control System?
Clearly, there are a number of factors to take into account when choosing the best access control system for your business. Selecting the right system depends highly on the specific needs of your business and facility. For more detailed recommendations customized for your business, contact us for a free consultation.